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Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Displays on University Property


This document provides information and establishes general precautions and policies for members of The University of Kansas who plan to have a fireworks display or use pyrotechnic special effects as part of a University group activity.

Applies to: 

This policy applies to the Lawrence Campus, the Edwards Campus, and all off-campus property managed by Lawrence campus units.

Policy Statement: 

No exterior fireworks or interior pyrotechnic display will be allowed on The University of Kansas properties unless they have been authorized by the appropriate University departments and the Provost and all provisions for a safe fireworks display or pyrotechnic special effects as outlined in this policy have been met. Random use of any fireworks or pyrotechnic special effects on The University of Kansas properties is prohibited.

  1. Operational Policy
    1. Objective:

      This document provides information and establishes general precautions and policies for members of The University of Kansas who plan to have a fireworks display or use pyrotechnic special effects as part of a University group activity.

    2. Authority:

      The following University requirements for pyrotechnic displays are drawn from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard for Public Display of Fireworks (ANSI/NFPA 1123, Outdoor Display of Fireworks, 1995 Edition), State Fire Marshal’s Office rules and regulations, and firsthand knowledge of existing on-site physical conditions. The storage and transportation of fireworks shall comply with NFPA 1124 Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, and Storage of Fireworks, 1995 Edition and is not redefined by this policy.

    3. Policy:

      Organizations, groups, and individuals sponsoring outdoor public display of fireworks shall comply with rules, regulations and procedures as outlined in this policy, as well as all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations. Interior pyrotechnics displays associated with theatrical productions at the Lied Center shall comply with this policy and the specific protocols established for safe operation of the Fire Alarm system and associated fire watch. Pyrotechnic displays at all other locations, including Memorial Stadium, shall comply with this policy and requests shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

    4. Interior Pyrotechnics Restrictions:

      Senate Bill No 254, passed in the spring of 2004, prohibits all pyrotechnical displays in assembled occupancies over 50. Exceptions are allowed in a very few cases. Requests for displays in sprinkled buildings and buildings constructed of fire restrictive materials may be evaluated and allowed. The University Fire Marshal and representative of the State Fire Marshal’s Office will review requests for interior pyrotechnics on a case-by-case basis.

    5. Oversight:

      The Provost, the Vice Provost for Facilities Planning and Management, the State Fire Marshal’s representative, and/or the Office of Public Safety have authority to suspend or terminate pyrotechnic displays on The University of Kansas campus at any time upon their own discretion and/or upon the advice of the University Fire Marshal, the producer of the event, or the local fire department.

    6. Location:

      The prospective locations for fireworks displays or special effects productions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Once a site has been requested for use, it will be inspected by the University Fire Marshal, the company contracted to perform the fireworks display or special effects production, the appropriate representative from Facilities Operations, and the University group making the request, to determine whether the fireworks display and/or special effects production can be accomplished on that site safely and without damage to University property. If so, approval may be granted by the Provost upon recommendation of the University Fire Marshal and subject to State and local official approval. If not, an alternate site may be reviewed. At the time of this inspection, the actual size, style, type, and amount of fireworks will be discussed for approval. Final responsibility for recommending that the Provost approve fireworks and/or special effects production and site rests with the University Fire Marshal Authority or designated representative.

      Exterior fireworks displays must be completed by 10:30 p.m.

    7. Weather Conditions (exterior):

      If at any time the wind speed is 20 mph at ground level, or if unusually wet or dry conditions prevail, the exterior public display shall be canceled or postponed until weather conditions improve to an acceptable level.

  2. Procedures:
    1. The University’s or University Organization’s Responsibility:
      1. Contact the University Fire Marshal (864-2717, dcmbor@ku.edu) for review and approval that all the conditions of this policy have been met and to provide the name(s) of person(s) who will ensure compliance with the fireworks policy. The required permit will not be issued until all conditions of this policy have been met and the Provost has approved the display.
      2. Contact the University Events Committee, 864-4861, at least 4 weeks prior to the event to start the reservation process for a specific area of campus and to coordinate campus activities. Possible fees and/or deposits that may be associated with the proposed location will be identified; such fees must be paid before final approval is granted.
      3. Contact the Director of University Relations, 864-3256, at that time to notify that office of the request, scope of activity and the process for approvals that will be followed.
      4. Contact an authorized fireworks display and pyrotechnic special effects company to perform the fireworks display. (This means a State of Kansas License holder, as required by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.)
      5. Contact the University Facilities Operations Department (FO) so FO can notify the proper personnel about the area where the fireworks display is to take place. Notification of surrounding buildings' occupants will be done by FO.
      6. Notify the University Office of Public Safety (864-5900) within 14 days of the proposed fireworks display, and provide the name(s) of person(s) who will ensure compliance with the fireworks policy. NOTE: The University or Student group/organization sponsoring the display will call 911 in the event of any problem with, or caused by, the fireworks display.
    2. Pyrotechnics Contractor’s Responsibility:
      1. SECURE FIREWORKS PERMIT- Contact the University Fire Marshal, who is the local code official, in person or by phone at 864-2717, at least 60 calendar days before the scheduled exterior fireworks display to request, complete, and pay for the fireworks permit. The permit must be issued 30 calendar days prior to the event. Note: If the fireworks display is outside the local code official’s authority, the appropriate code official shall be contacted.
      2. Exterior display permit shall be $350 payable to the Design & Construction Management department.
      3. For an interior pyrotechnic display, a 30 calendar-day notice is required and the permit must be issued 14 calendar days before the event. Submit the permit and fee to: University Fire Marshal Authority, DCM; Carruth-O’Leary Hall; 1246 West Campus Drive, Room 114; Lawrence, KS 66045-7505.
      4. Interior display permit shall be $200 payable to the Design & Construction Management department. Repeat showings of a single event within a one-month period shall only require one permit.
      5. Departments whose services are required to support the event shall estimate the labor costs for the KU personnel involved, including fire watches, fire alarm monitoring and crowd control, and shall bill the costs directly to the department sponsoring the event.
      6. Contact the Office of the University General Counsel, 785-864-3276, to ensure Certificates of Insurance are on file to cover General Liability, $1.5 million minimum; Property Damage, $1.5 million minimum; and Workers Compensation. Insurance coverage requirements will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may be increased if the proposed display is in close proximity to a building or other physical structure or if circumstances otherwise so warrant. Safety zones established by NFDA for the type of pyrotechnics planned will guide the University in determining what is in “close proximity.”
      7. Ensure that City, State and University safety requirements for fireworks displays have been met.
      8. Ensure that all NFPA 1123 Standards are met.
      9. Ensure that the NFPA-required clearances are established first on paper, then at the site. A graphic plan shall be submitted to the University Fire Marshal indicating the necessary safety zone for exterior displays per NFPA table 3-1.3. It shall be approved before the permit shall be issued.
      10. Ensure that adequate fire extinguishing or fire-fighting equipment is available on site in the event of fire on site. Coordinate with local fire officials for emergency standby.
      11. Ensure that only trained, certified and licensed pyrotechnic personnel are used to discharge the fireworks display. A current State of Kansas License issued by the State Fire Marshal’s Office is required.
      12. Ensure that clean up of the fireworks area is acceptable to the appropriate representative(s) of The University of Kansas.
      13. The event producer and/or sponsoring organization shall be responsible for providing an adequate number of people to monitor the perimeter of the approved discharge site and potential landing areas immediately prior to and during the firing, and until the area is declared safe by the display operator. NFPA has strict requirements to control the landing zone. Copies of the NFPA requirements are available at the office of the University Fire Marshal. (1246 W. Campus Drive, Room 114, Lawrence, KS 66045-7505).
      14. The University of Kansas Fire Marshal shall be called in to verify all procedures and all safety precautions. If NFPA standards are not maintained, the University of Kansas Fire Marshal Authority has the responsibility to stop all activities until corrections are made.
  3. Performance Mode Protocols
    1. General Requirements
      1. For the purpose of interior pyrotechnical displays, the Lied Center theater and stage areas or any other campus building with a fire alarm system shall be capable of allowing the following protocol to be used. Areas not equipped will not be allowed to have pyrotechnical displays.
      2. The Lied Center has a fire alarm "performance mode" programming settings actuated by a momentary key switch which will de-activate smoke detectors in specific areas for the expressed use of theatrical pyrotechnics. Once activated the system shall automatically reset after 4 hours. Theatrical pyrotechnics are those cold burning type approved for indoor use.
      3. The Stage Manager or organizer of the event will be responsible for securing all approvals prior to the event per this policy.
      4. Only the stage manager or FO may activate this system by use of a security key.
      5. The activation of this function will require a fire watch per the State Fire Marshal protocols, Fire Fact # 33. Notification to the University Fire Marshal, FO Instrumentation and the Public Safety Office will be required before activation of the performance mode. A trouble signal will be observed on the fire alarm network when these functions are activated, which will trigger a response from the KU 911 center.
      6. The switch will be accessible outside the Simplex panel and will have an indicator light in the panel itself. Instructions should be posted near the switch.
      7. If a performance is planned to go beyond the 4 hours, it is the responsibility of the stage manager to reset the 4-hour "performance mode" switch at the 2-hour mark to yield extra time.
      8. A minimum of two qualified technicians from FO Instrumentation Shop is required for the fire watch associated to the fire alarm system itself; one at the panel, the other to verify alarms or troubles and report via radio event status.
      9. Pyrotechnical displays at the locations listed below are governed by the general requirements and by the specific requirements noted for each location.
    2. Lied Center
      1. Two zones of smoke detectors will be deactivated; one zone on stage and one zone for the house (main seating area). Each zone has hard-wired smoke detectors dedicated for a specific area. The system will automatically reset after 4 hours.
      2. Two FO Instrumentation personnel will be required to monitor the fire alarm system while in this mode.
      3. The stage manager will designate personnel to conduct a fire watch per Fire Fact # 33. They will have no other function than to monitor conditions continuously.
    3. Memorial Stadium
      1. Pyrotechnical displays are not allowed without special permission.
      2. The fire alarm system has a fire watch delay signal mode for all large events such as football games. This mode is not approved for pyrotechnical displays.
      3. Because pyrotechnical displays have never been done at the stadium with the present configurations, future displays shall be considered on a case-by-case basis upon request. This would also require the specified lead times described in this policy.
  4. Other Large Facilities
    1. Kansas Memorial Union – Ballroom

      Pyrotechnical displays are not allowed with the current fire alarm system.

    2. Allen Fieldhouse

      Pyrotechnical displays are not allowed. The fire alarm system has a fire watch delay signal mode for events with over 5000 occupants per agreement with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. This mode is not approved for pyrotechnical displays.


The University of Kansas
Fire Marshal Authority
1246 West Campus Rd, Room 114
Lawrence, KS 66045
(785) 864-3431

Bob Rombach, University Fire Marshal

For any emergencies, call 911!

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Thursday, July 8, 2004
Effective on: 
Monday, July 12, 2004
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Change History: 

05/22/2017: Fixed broken link. 

12/09/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).

Operational Categories: 
Health & Safety

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